Some Whole Foods shoppers may be shocked to learn why the chicken-like chunks in their vegan salads tasted so much like meat.
They were meat.
Whole Foods Market Inc. said labels for its curried chicken salad and the vegan version, which replaces meat with the soy-based substitute "chick'n," were accidentally swapped. The mix-up was caught by an employee, and the company has since recalled the affected salads.
"Due to the label mix-up, allergens were undeclared," the company said in a statement on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recall site. "The vegan chick'n salad contains soy, and the curried chicken salad contains egg."
Soy and eggs can cause hives and even life-threatening anaphylaxis in people who are allergic. No illnesses have been reported to date, according to the company.
The mislabeled salads were sold Tuesday and Wednesday in 15 stores in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. In some locations, the salads were sold in bulk at the cold food bar. In others, they were displayed in the prepared food section behind glass. The affected stores have posted signs warning customers about the mix-up.
"Consumers who have purchased this product from Whole Foods Market may return it to the store for a full refund," the company said. "Consumers with questions should contact their local store or call 617-492-5500 between the hours of 9am and 5pm EST."
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The Associated Press contributed to this story.